dbg your delayed fire comment is true and may be consedered preventable or a non-preventable occurence depending on how handeled. An informed owner may ask for and receive a knowlegeable inspection by a qualified inspector while another owner will NOT exhibt dudilligence and have a delayed fire.
Both WILL probably have insurance. Over time the actuarries will adjust the policies to reflect stupidity and real cost. Other known safety problems such as refuel explosions at gas stations are just as, or more dangerous and exeedingly more frenquent than those of eattery packs.
bdcst Yes agreed, and others fires can be much worse and more spectaluar. Check out windmill fires for instance. But, let me get to the real problem is SAFE ENERGY. Not the battery or buss voltage. How do we get Safe Energy?
The question begs other Qs like what type, where from, at what cost, and the list goes on. Where from, has to be at the top if we want to move on so here is a partial answer that I hope all you young engineers pay attention to thoes flakey old reclusive types and ask the rigut questions. If you do this it WILL lead you to a valley of knowledge that engineering schools don't teach.
So #1 where is this hidden repository?
It is housed in Scientific, Physics, R&D Reports, Patent Offices, universities, corporations, governments, and private;
R&D centers, Labs, Black Ops Centers, Scientific & Physics Libraries History Books, Space......you get the Idea
NOW ask yourself:
Do I have a VERY open mind?
Am I publically closed lipped?
Do I know people with these traits?
Can I be evasive?
Do I have EXCELLENT intution?
Can I calmly hold my own in advanced technical discussion?
Can I exist on little sleep?
If you can say yes to the above you're ready to learn about alternate energy.
Start reading about: Dark, Alternate, Zero, Cold, Quantum, Fusion, Radiant, Transmutation, Energy, New Energy and Matter, etc. Guys like Tesla, Moray, Mallve,Greer, Adamenko,D. Bohm, V. Schauberger,Hubbard, Farnsworth,Barak, Brown, Childress...
These batteries have caused numerous product recalls including thousands of computers and just last month I got a message from Apple recalling my 1st generation, 5 year old iPod due to battery fires!! Apparently as these units aged, they have become more susceptable to initiating fires.
As with all systems, we learn to live with risk managment, by both the provider of the product and the user of the product. However, as systems become more complex, the potential failure modes increase and the reliability decreases. Just remember that the more cells you stuff in a battery and the more electronics you pack around it and its vehicles interfaces, the higher the probability of a failure.
Good point, dgb. Consider this: A gallon of gasoline contains about 30 kWh of energy. That means that a 15-gallon gas tank holds about 450 kWh. In contrast, a Volt battery contains 16 kWh -- equivalent to about half a gallon of gas.
Alongside gasoline-fueled fires, a big cause of automotive deaths remains distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (pdf download), some 33,000 deaths were caused in 2009 by drowsy driving. I don't know if there are stats yet for accidents caused by texting while driving, but I'd bet the numbers are pretty scary. That said, this stuff as well as gas are discrete from the issues raised by Lithium Ion batteries, which need to be investigated.
We still don't know enough about what happened and when we do, we will report it. But too many times, stories in the newspapers and TV news about such subjects take on the apperance of a witch hunt, then they disappear. Consider Toyota's unintended acceleration "problem." Little was written when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said this after the NHTSA investigation: "The jury is back. The verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas. Period." And what about the infamous General Motors pickup trucks -- the ones that were profiled on NBC Dateline in a story called "Waiting to Expode?" Those vehicles, too, were supposed to be death traps...until it was learned that NBC faked the explosions with remote control explosives. Again -- I repeat -- we don't yet know what happened here. And, yes, there are anomalies. So, yes, government agencies should certainly investigate this fire (or fires, as the case may be). But until we do know anything definitive, I'm siding with the engineers. For the most part, they have a good track record.
I think at this point we clearly don't know the complete range of risks in the Volt. Nor, re the earlier comment, do we know exactly how many Volts have been sold. We'll be keeping up with both issues in our continuing coverage on Design News; thanks for the comments and for bringing these issues to the fore.